Of the Cityscape fantasy books I’ve been reading lately, this is one of the more enjoyable. I’m becoming increasingly keen on the concept, because it removes a little of the need to suspend disbelief, other than towards the obvious issue of “magic”, and it grounds the stories in a relative terra-firma.
And Neverwhere does this, strangely, in London.
Neverwhere is the tale of a Richard Mayhew, who upon moving to London from Scotland finds himself adrift in a meaningless life. He has a great job, the perfect fiancee, and mostly importantly, prospects. But one day he finds himself confronted with a conundrum, to ignore a girl who has collapsed on the footpath in from of him and continue to a party with the all-too perfect Jessica, or to help her. Being a decent chap, he does the latter, and a new world opens up beneath his feet.
And it’s a great one. Gaiman applies all of his ability to tell fables in this book, and it is at lines conversely laugh-out-loud funny or deady serious. Like Stardust, its is basically the hero tale, but is told with just enough spin to make it genuinely interesting.